The Importance of Engaging Millennials in the Contingent Workplace


Much has been written about the millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1995) and how they’re not conforming to the established norms of the workplace.  Frankly, much of the coverage of this topic has run towards the negative with many respected business writers concluding that millennials are self-absorbed and disinclined to “earn their position” the old fashioned way – through sustained effort and diligent attitude.  However, none can argue that before long, millennials will comprise the vast majority of the workforce, simply by virtue of the aging of the workforce. So understanding what motivates the millennial (and how to attract and retain these workers) will be crucial to the success of both the full time and contingent workforce. So what do you as an HR professional need to know about this generation?

Because the millennial generation is the first to be born and grow to maturity in a world dominated by internet and information technology, their entire attitude toward work and life in general has been fundamentally altered.  Their perspectives and expectations for the workplace mirror the transformative effects these same technologies have had on the way the global community transacts business. This is why the world’s largest business services organization, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), undertook the largest, most comprehensive global generational study ever conducted into the attitudes of “Millennial” employees. The study, pulling data from 44,000 surveys across 18 nations, found that it will be necessary to transform the core dynamics of the workplace if businesses are to achieve a greater sense of commitment among millennials whose ideas and expectations about work and career in general are reflective of the “brave new world” in which they’ve grown to maturity.

It should be noted at the outset that there was less disparity between millennials and their older counterparts than popular media might have you to believe.  In fact, although they weren’t born into a world radically transformed by technology, older generations still in the workforce have been similarly influenced by better work/life balance and the many other benefits promised by technological advancement.  As such, much of what is suggested to better engage millennials would be well received by Gen X and Gen Y workers. 

PwC then took the output of the Global Generational Study and used it to produce the even more illuminating Engaging and Empowering Millennials report which you can read here.  The takeaways of this report are solid gold for any HR practitioner seeking to understand how to attract, motivate, and retain the next generation of contingent workers. The recommendations of this latest report include:

  • Creating a more flexible working environment
  • Fully leveraging technology
  • Creating innovative programs focused around compensation, rewards, and career decisions
  • Building a sense of community
  • Considering the introduction or acceleration of global mobility programs
  • Evaluating the contingent workforce strategy of your organization
  • Investing the time, resources, and energy to listen and stay connected with your people

The report provides details on how to achieve each of these recommended goals. Read and absorb the trove of insight and data driven perspectives on millennial workers and then reach out to your nextSource rep to learn how to apply millennial-friendly recruiting and retention strategies for your organization.

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